Colombia Purdue Initiative — CPI

Next Generation Citizenship: Transforming Civic Education in Rural Communities 


Dora Piñeres, Professor of Education at the Universidad de Cartagena, is on a mission to change how children in post-conflict Colombia learn about the government structures and mechanisms of their republic and their role as citizens.

Currently on sabbatical at Purdue, Dora found the perfect partner when she met Dr. Phillip VanFossen during a visit last spring to Purdue’s campus.  Phillip is Associate Dean for Learning in the College of Education and Director of the James F. Ackerman Center for Democratic Citizenship, which has a wealth of resources for educators, including its Library of Liberty collections.  Dora shares the ideals articulated in the Ackerman Center’s mission – to prepare new generations of US citizens by providing programs and resources for teachers to design and implement more powerful citizenship programs.

In particular, Prof. Piñeres wants to incorporate research informed methodologies and curriculum elements in the Masters program she directs for rural teachers who are responsible for including citizenship and social studies content into their lesson plans and learning activities. With the recent signing of the peace treaty, the time is ripe for incorporating new technologies, such as on-line role playing games and exploring the intersection of civics and economics, areas of deep interest to Professor VanFossen.

In addition to developing new strategies for curriculum innovation, Dora has three additional objectives:
1. to gain insight on how federal, state and local governments in the US influence educational standards for citizenship content in school curriculums,
2. to enrich her knowledge-base by accessing the people and resources in Purdue’s Center for Peace Studies and the Military Families Research Institute, and
3. to learn more about diversity and multiculturalism at Purdue and how the College of Education and others have integrated content and practice into their environment and plans of study.

Professor VanFossen hopes their work together will lead to future collaborations.

Professor Piñeres’ ten year goal is to see the impact of their work not only in the preparation of post-conflict teachers, but in their impact on developing post-conflict youth prepared to be positive contributors in their families and communities as they grow into mature Colombian citizens.


Dr. Phillip VanFossen, Associate Dean for Learning in the College of Education and Director of the James F. Ackerman Center for Democratic Citizenship and Dora Piñeres, Professor of Education at the Universidad de Cartagena.


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